For Adam Andrews and his service dog, Aspen, their head-turning commute into work starts with a motorcycle ride. An avid motorcyclist, Andrews attached a side car for his four-legged co-worker. “She just lets the wind blow on her face,” said Andrews.
Shortly after Andrews joined Amazon in 2021, the IT manager for Operations sites had a heart attack and went on short-term leave. During his recovery, Andrews began experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) linked to his previous career in the U.S. Air Force.
“Everyone’s experience is different with things like PTSD,” said Andrews. “Maybe it’s left over from a bit of my time in the military that I’d been suppressing.”
That’s when Andrews first met Aspen, a yellow Labrador retriever trained to help with his PTSD symptoms. Since receiving a service animal accommodation at Amazon, Andrews brings Aspen to his site visits in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. She goes to work by creating a barrier between Andrews and groups of people, leads him to a comfortable location if he gets anxious, and is trained to get help if he were to fall. Aspen is even learning to tell if Andrews's heart rate is increasing by smelling Andrews's breath.
“Aspen knows she’s ready to go to work when we put her vest on, just like every other Amazon employee,” said Andrews.